It’s a ‘Deal’ for charity at inaugural Community Day of Deals

Some of the items for sale at the inaugural Community Day of Deals were brand new. Some were gently used. All had price tags that reflected the mood of the day: “Deals.”

And, more importantly, out of every dollar of the approximately $6,000 spent on Saturday, Nov. 14, anywhere from 25 to 100 percent was donated to charity.

More than 30 vendors brought their wares to Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson and Buell under-cover Shed for the first Community Day of Deals. The event was planned and organized by a group of community volunteers as a way to raise money for area charities, churches, schools and not-for-profit organizations.

Community Day of Deals committee co-chair Fran Leonard said organizers were pleased that customers bought $6,000 worth of merchandise and food during the four hours of the event. “The vendors all donated at least 25 percent or more of their proceeds to their charity of choice,” Leonard said, meaning a minimum of $1,650 went to area charities.

The are charities benefiting from vendors’ efforts included such agencies and programs such as New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center, Relay for Life and many area schools, Leonard said. There were vendors with different twists to their products, including beaded necklaces made of paper from Africa and T-shirts created by a mom from designs her son does.

“We were pleased with the crowd for our first year,” said Leonard. “We had beautiful weather. We already have vendors who want to secure their spot again for next year, and we are really looking forward to doing it next year, and making it the annual event we envisioned,” she said.

Leonard said organizers appreciated the vendors and local retailers and people who came and shopped that day. We’re hoping to have even more next year,” she said.

The co-chair said “lessons learned” by the planning committee include possibly moving the time to a little later in the morning next year. “Next year we may do it from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. instead of 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. With high school football the night before, it is probably better to start it a little bit later,” she said.

Leonard said shoppers responded well to the Community Day of Deals. “We felt like they were able to see everything from gently-used items to wonderful new retail items to oil paintings to jewelry and home décor,” she said. “We just had a really wide variety. Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson was wonderful to work with and were so helpful.”

The co-chair said she and the others conceived the idea and began organizing it just eight weeks before the event.

“The thing we’re excited about is having a full year to prepare. We will have so much more in place. We really do believe it will grow to become Maryville’s version of Knoxville’s Bag-a-Bargain.”

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